Moreover, the government has taken steps to recruit as many as 9,792 medical officers to address the growing need for health services
The government has allocated Tk25,732 crore for the health sector in the proposed national budget for FY2019-20.
Although the new allocation is Tk2,339 crore higher than the Tk23,393 crore allocated for the health sector in the budget for FY2018-19, it is a slightly smaller proportion of the total budget. The health sector allocation for FY2018-19 was 5% of the total budget, as compared to 4.9% in FY2019-20.
According to the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, Finance Minister AKM Mustofa Kamal has allocated Tk 19,944 crore for sectoral allocation and Tk5,788 crore for the Health Ministry. Meanwhile, Tk9,937 crore has been allocated for the annual development budget, as compared to Tk9,041 crore in FY2018-19.
In addition, during the placing of the proposed budget for FY2019-20 in parliament on Thursday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, on behalf of the finance minister, proposed the reduction of regulatory duties on the import of oxygen, nitrogen, argon, and carbon dioxide from 20% to 10%.
According to the budget speech, the health sector has witnessed remarkable progress over the last fiscal year, with infant mortality per 1000 live births down to 24 from 45, and the number of medical colleges increased from 46 to 111. Maternal mortality rate, child (under-5 years) mortality rate, malnutrition, and the stunting rate have also been on a downward trend.
Modernization and set up of new hospitals
Projects undertaken by the government to ensure health services include the modernization and expansion of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, establishment of nephrology units and kidney dialysis centers in government medical college hospitals and all district headquarters hospitals, and establishment of cancer treatment units in all medical college hospitals at the divisional level.
In addition, steps have been taken to establish medical college hospitals at Habiganj, Nilphamari, Netrokona, Magura and Naogaon districts, among other initiatives.
Maternal and child health services
Various priority programs have been undertaken to improve maternal and child health services, including the provision of emergency maternity services training to physicians and community based skilled birth attendant training to field level health workers. To expand neo-natal medical services, Special Care Newborn Units (SCANU) have been established in 10 district hospitals and 61 upazila hospitals.
Moreover, the government has taken steps to recruit as many as 9,792 medical officers to address the growing need for health services.
Health services for the grassroots
Currently, there are 13,799 community clinics that are operational in the country, each of which provides services to about 40 people every day. In addition, the government is implementing the Health Protection Program as a pilot project in Kalihati, Ghatail and Madhupur upazilas of Tangail, in order to reduce the financial burden of health services for those who are in poverty.
Incentives for expansion of pharmaceutical sector
As part of the government’s effort to facilitate the development of the pharmaceutical sector, a cash incentive at the rate of 20% is being provided to encourage exports from the producers of pharmaceutical raw materials and laboratory reagents.
Furthermore, an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Industrial Park is being set up at Gazaria in Munshiganj. A separate testing laboratory for traditional medicine is being established to ensure the quality of traditional medicine.